A variation on the crusty Italian bread
Recipe courtesy of Amy Scherber
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3 hr 15 min
2 hr 15 min
1 hr
1 fougasse



Mix the dough according to the instructions given in the recipe.

After the dough has taken its first rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (or overnight) it can be shaped into a fougasse. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and pat it into a long narrow rectangle. Sprinkle a layer of chopped rosemary over the surface of the dough being careful to cover the edges too. Fold the dough in thirds like a business letter, the top third over the middle of the dough, then the bottom third over that, completely overlapping the two. Press the 3 open sides of the fougasse tightly shut. Cover the bread well with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours.

Thirty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Place a baking stone in the oven to preheat and position an oven rack just below the stone.

Sprinkle a peel or upsidedown baking sheet generously with cornmeal and place the fougasse on top, stretching it slightly to make it into a square. Cut a decorative pattern, such as a leaf or a ladder, into the dough with a dough cutter. Spread and stretch the loaf until the cuts form large openings.

Be sure the fougasse is loosened from the peel, then carefully slide it onto the baking stone. Using a plant sprayer, quickly mist the bread with water 8 to 10 times, then quickly shut oven door. Mist again after 1 minute. Then mist again 1 minute later.

Bake for about 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 450 degrees and bake 15 minutes longer or until the loaf sounds slightly hollow when tapped on the bottom and the crust is a medium to dark brown. (If the crust is not brown enough, the bread will soften as it cools.) Transfer the bread to a rack to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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